It's beginning to sound a little like a broken record, but the day was animated by an early break that had a lead on the field of over 13 minutes at one point. 13 minutes! With just 5km remaining, the remaining riders in the breakaway were finally caught and all the madness began in full force.
The final sprint played out a bit differently, with a slight hesitation from the sprinters in the final meters, as nobody wanted to be the front guy in the wind, leading all the others to the line. However, 3-time World Champion Oscar Freire threw the dice and came up a winner for his second career stage win. Oscar's wins haven't been as plentiful as of late, but he showed all the other sprinters in the race that he still has the speed to finish things off. Freire is a classy rider and certainly deserves the win.
Boonen racked up yet another 2nd, to keep the yellow. So far, Tom the Terrific has been shut out of every sprint this year. To Tom's credit, he has not offered any excuses, but has simply stated that he hasn't been able to win; "...I'm also more stressed and nervous and that doesn't work. We all know that if you're relaxed, you can win; on the other hand, if you are nervous you can't win. But... ça c'est le Tour!" You have to admire the level of class Tom posesses- there aren't many sprinters like that.
Tomorrow is the last stage before the first big time trial of this Tour. That means that the stage will likely be wide open. The sprinters will want the stage as their last chance for a couple weeks to really have a chance to win, but their teams will be tired and they will need the rest. Expect a breakaway, as always, but this one should actually have a good chance to stay away to the line... maybe.
Should make for an interesting day...
And now, once again, the musings of Jessi Pacetti, Cub Reporter;
What the Hay, Tour Whores and Birthday Boys
After watching yesterday's stage four times, I noticed what a knack the French have for, what shall we call them, Straw Structures? I would love to hear one farmer talking to his farmer buddy . . . "Ok, Pierre, vat ve need to do is construct a horse or somesing from all dis HAY. It vill ve maaaarvolous and it vill be on American tv and ve vill ve
famous!" Seriously, I want to hear the thought process behind these. They are substantial structures, there had to be some sort of planning behind them. The other thing I plan to get to the bottom of, is how do these people get up and down off of these gigantic monstrosities? What happens when you get to the top of the big Straw Horse and you have to pee? I don't see a ladder hanging out anywhere, so I don't really know how this works. I will have to find an English speaking native to explain this phenomenon for me. I am perplexed to hay . . . I mean SAY the
least. (TJMG – how do you like that one?)
My almost 2 year old daughter, who we sweetly refer to as "The Terrorist" is a Tour Whore. Every other month of the year, we wake up and flip on some Sesame Street while Mom thinks about getting out of bed. In July, however, we flip on the Tour
instead. She sits there with her thumb in her mouth, her ratty baby doll in hand and hollers in her pterodactyl voice "GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO" as only The Terrorist can do. Her four year old sister, who we will just call "Sunshine Face", has a special connection with Uncle Bobke. I think it goes back to the time he was staying here and Sunshine Face was being not so sunshiney and he threw her over his shoulder and started bellowing slave songs to her in an amazing baratone and she became my happy little girl all over again. I can righteously say Sunshine Face is Uncle Bobke's Biggest Fan and is super stoked that he is on television all the time. She's tuned in to
his every word. Every cyclist is Lance – even the ones who ride through the neighborhood. I live in the Madison, Wisconsin area, which is amazingly populated with bicycles. Our neighborhood is host to the cycling portion of the Wisconsin Ironman, so we see lots of cyclists all year round. We were taking a walk not too long ago and a guy was riding with a yellow jersey on and Sunshine Face hollers "GO LANCE GO!" The cyclist stops and says "that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me". My gals, the Tour Whores.
So the boys on the screen are stuck in blazers for the duration of the Tour. They make me think of Freshman Homecoming in high school with the gangly boys in navy blazers and khaki pants. Lord. I asked Bob what gives and he says it's just the way it is, but rest assured he's been wearing shorts under the desk all week. I PROMISE to get a picture of these guys in blazers and shorts.
Flight to France: $1200
Photo of the OLN gang in navy blazers
and shorts: Priceless
Here's the big news, Bob's birthday is tomorrow (Friday 7/7). He hasn't been getting the emails very regularly and I hear from him approximately once a day, so I don't know if he'll actually get the French strippers I sent him. . . . kidding. I told him they were coming and he got slightly excited. Hope it's not too much of a letdown for him when the Russian girls show up. (Thanks for the tip, Righteous Rod!)
Quick shout out to Scott in Minneapolis who really knows how to make the OLN coverage into mp3s and is going to do it as long as I don't need them by tomorrow. YOU ARE THE CHAMPION. I will nickname you Scott McEwen.
Well cycling fans, 8 days to go until I get to kiss the promise land. If the internet shenanigans don't get better by the time I'm there, I will have to call in my scoop. Keep it real.
Until tomorrow's stage...
PS; Happy Birthday Bobke!